by Mama Dee
Disclaimer: Love 'em and leave 'em 'cause they don't belong to me. That honour belongs to the WB.
Summary: The kids take off for Mexico to continue their adventure.
Category: After Hours
Authors Note: This is the final installment of the trilogy.......please see Fantasies (part 1) and Realities ( part 2). I had to move the geological location of some sites for literary purposes.
|They had just a little over five weeks to complete their research. They contacted Balam with their latest discovery, and he
promised he would focus all his energy on deciphering this latest set of symbols. He was very encouraged about their progress
and was intrigued by the appearance of two of the four New York podsters. He told them that he would incorporate what he
had deciphered thus far from the Mexican glyphs into his new research.
They asked him about the significance of the old jar discovered in the Temple of the Sun and he told them that it did show a link between the glyphs at the site and those in the cave. He would see if any of those matched the ones found in the latest cave. He said he would contact them as soon as he had something concrete to give them.
They kept a close eye on Ava and Zan, who were adjusting to the high life quite nicely. It was such a change from their old living quarters. They felt a twinge of guilt when they thought about the raw deal they’d been dealt....the same way they thought about Michael’s former life. So they didn’t begrudge them a few comforts. One thing Liz and Max found particularly amusing was their penchant for Redi Whip. It seemed that once they had discovered that culinary treat, nothing else would satisfy them.
Zan and Max were beginning to garner a respect for one another. Max often wondered if he had been the one sent to New York to fend for himself, how would he have turned out.
Zan was strong willed like Max and, in his own way, he followed an honour code. He was certainly loyal to Ava and would have killed for her.....just like Max would have killed for Liz.
His powers were similar to Max’s, too. He had actually inadvertently healed Ava once. She had fallen and twisted her ankle. They couldn’t afford medical help and he was worried about her. He massaged her ankle and then he realized that by concentrating hard, he could manipulate the tissue to heal it.
His feelings for Lonnie and Rath were no secret. He was embroiled in a constant battle of wills with the two and he didn’t miss them a bit, even though Lonnie was supposedly his sister. She had treated him just as badly as she treated everyone she had contact with. She was treacherous and unfeeling and would have killed anyone who got in her way. It was only a matter of time before she disposed of Zan and Ava, and Rath wouldn’t be long joining them. Whoever killed them, did him a favour.
He was having nightmares about his death, though. He couldn’t accept the fact that it had happened and had an even harder time accepting his reincarnation. Ava confided in Max and he promised to talk to Zan about it. Over the course of a week, they had retold their tale to Zan. He was impressed with their efforts and he offered to help if he could. He had had no experience with computers, but he was smart and learned quickly. He was starting to come round in his attitude towards these newcomers in his life. He realized they were a part of each other and it was useless to resist any longer. Ava wanted to be a part of Tess’s life and he was starting to see the possibilities of becoming a part of Max’s, too.
The change was gradual. First, he shaved off his goatee. Ava had missed it at first, but had soon grown used to his clean shaven look. He refused to remove his earring but he trimmed his long hair, keeping it at shoulder length, and started working out more. He was proud of his body, but admitted that he could tone up just a little. He had noticed how firm Max was when he took off his shirt one day to do some repairs at the house. He caught Ava eyeing him and he determined he was going to be buff, too.
Max finally got up the courage to talk to him about his dreams. He told him that Isabel could dreamwalk and maybe she could help him, if he liked. He was reluctant to let anybody inside his mind, afraid they might see a weakness there, but after a few more nights of interrupted sleep, he was willing to give it a try.
Isabel prepared herself for a rough ride. She decided the safest time to do this was when they were all staying at the house. Zan and Ava had been given the den to use, since Michael and Maria only stayed there occasionally. That night, Zan was apprehensive and Ava stayed with him while he went to sleep, holding his hand in comfort until he drifted off.
Isabel was ready with a picture they had taken earlier that day. She still found it odd looking at Zan and Max, both handsome clones of each other but so different in attitude, on the surface anyway. She pointed her finger to the picture and slowly went to sleep.
Immediately, she found herself in a maze of dark swirling colours. She waved her arms around frantically to clear a path through the haze. She could hear a voice whimpering off in the distance and followed the sound. She found Zan crouching in a corner, shielding his face from her. She called out to him and when he looked up, he screamed.
She turned around to see a figure dressed in a long black cloak, wielding a metal rod. Flashes of light were being emitted from the top of the rod and they were aimed at Zan. She could see Zan’s flesh burning as the sparks from the staff ignited his skin and he rolled around on the ground in a vain attempt to put them out. His whole body was on fire by now, and he screamed in agony as his flesh melted.
Isabel woke up screaming and Alex was right by her side to comfort her. Meanwhile, Max had been standing guard over Zan, watching him as he groaned on his bed, his body fidgeting in agitation. He sat up in the bed, flailing his arms around and Max grabbed him to wake him up. He was sobbing in terror and clung onto Max for dear life. Max hugged him close until he settled down again. Zan was embarrassed by his outburst but Max had been the only one to witness it, and he assured him that he would tell no one.
Max called Ava in, and she lay on the bed with Zan, soothing him with her soft voice. He hugged her to him, rubbing his tear stained face in her hair, seeking comfort in her nearness. Max went to consult with Isabel who told him of the horrific dream.
"Max, it was awful," she admitted, shaking her head to erase the memory. "He was actually melting on the ground and he was screaming in pain. I think he has to talk to a professional about it, or he’s never going to get over it."
"And who do you suggest?" He can’t exactly go to a shrink and tell him that he was murdered and brought back to life. I don’t know what to do!"
"Max, how about contacting your grandmother again?" Alex suggested.
"I don’t know.....she didn’t seem too interested in him the last time she was here. She hardly batted an eye when she saw him and Ava. Maybe they don’t mean anything to her, not the same as us,’ he admitted reluctantly. "I mean, they were dumped in a cave to fend for themselves.....who could do that to some helpless kids?"
"Max, we were dumped, too, remember. We were just lucky to have two great parents adopt us. Look what happened to Michael and Tess!"
"Yeah, I guess you’re right, Iz. Maybe it would be worth a try. I guess it can’t hurt. Let’s get everyone in the living room, and see if we can summon up Grandma again."
Soon, they were all sitting in the living room, concentrating on Grandma’s image. Within a few minutes, she appeared, just as gentle and loving as ever. They wasted no time in telling her about Zan and his awful experience. She turned towards him and held out her hand. He stretched his arm towards her and she took his hand gently, rubbing her thumb over his palm. He closed his eyes as he felt the soothing sense of peace course through his body. He smiled as he heard her whisper words of comfort to him.
When he opened them again, she was gone. He looked at his friends and beamed with happiness. That was certainly a shocker....his usual expression was truculent, but he seemed to have undergone some kind of transformation. He grabbed Ava and gave her a big kiss. She seemed changed, too...........less withdrawn. Whatever magic Grandma had wielded had worked, and they were thankful for that.
The mystery of his reappearance had not been solved, but they felt it had something to do with that cave. For now, they were thankful he was restored to good mental health. If he was needed in this upcoming confrontation, at least he would be of some benefit, now.
Max had never really considered him anything other than an aberration of himself, defective in some way, but now, as he was lifted from his bonds of horror and misery, he started seeing Zan in a whole new light. Just seeing the two of them sitting at the table, pouring over some new strategy, was mind-boggling. Alike in their features, but still so different. Zan kept his locks long and still wore his earring, and although he no longer went around with a chip on his shoulder, his attitude still resembled Michael’s a little more than Max’s. He was more apt to be rash in his assessments and more likely to jump feet first into a situation, thinking about the consequences later.
The most eerie feeling though, was watching them share a joke. To see the two of them laughing over some ridiculous cartoon or sharing a breakfast of Cocoa Puffs, was still enough to stop all of them in their tracks. They were becoming closer every day, starting to pick up little habits of one another’s. No one minded, because it wasn’t actually annoying. It was just a little unsettling. They weren’t even aware of it themselves, as they strode out the back door to check over something on the property, or worked out on some weights.
Except for the hair, the earring and the New York accent, you could barely tell them apart anymore. They were starting to move in sync. Ava and Tess were gradually becoming more alike, too. Again, their hair and accents were a dead giveaway, but their actions and their sense of humour were beginning to meld. They had heard stories of Lonnie and Rath, and they wondered what it would have been like if they had still been alive.
Of course, Max was still devoted to Liz and spent as much time with her as was possible, and the same went for Zan and Ava. That would never change. But Max found himself consulting with Zan more than he expected he would.......and enjoying it.
The time was fast approaching. They had less than two weeks to complete their assignment. Balam was working furiously on trying to finish the interpretations. Brody was also doing his best to help, while the teens, with the additional help of Ava and Zan , were doing their part. They were starting to get a little apprehensive about their roles in all of this.
What if they got the date wrong or what if they misinterpreted one of the symbols? How would this impact on their plan? Panic and nerves were starting to set in, making it harder to concentrate on their task. Besides all of this, they were still busy with schoolwork, but the whole idea of school or life in general might not mean a thing if something went wrong.
Every day, they drank that ridiculous concoction their grandmother had recommended, as it controlled their libido, but she had mentioned that they would need the energy from this libido to accomplish their task. Liz kept remembering the dream she and Max had shared in Mexico, and how their bodies seemed to disburse over the universe, only to be joined by many more clusters of molecules. Maybe this was what would happen with them. That alone was pretty unnerving.
Balam was due to arrive the weekend before their big day.....Wednesday, March 28, 2001.
It sounded so final.....they hoped it wasn’t their last day. River Dog would also be there to lend his support. They could use all the support they could muster. Sheriff Valenti and Brody would also be there to back them up. But would it be enough......would they be enough?"
"Max, you and Zan seem to be getting along much better," Liz observed. They had just made love and were in that period between the afterglow and sleep, commonly referred to as pillow talk. She rubbed his abdomen with her smooth hand, enjoying the ripples of the hard muscles undulating under her palm.
"Mmmm," he replied, as he relaxed under her touch. "Yeah, he’s okay, you know," Max admitted, as he lay with his arms supporting his head. "He just needed a chance to prove himself."
She leaned over to peck his chest, rubbing her nose on his soft flesh and licking at his salty skin. He brought his arms down to hold her to him, massaging her back with his large hands.
"Hey, did you take your drink today?" he asked. "You seem to be a little frisky tonight," he joked as he squeezed her.
"Can’t a girl be a little horny once in a while?" she purred. "Anyway, it’s that time of the month and I just need a little extra," she giggled, as she ran her nails down his chest. She sat up and straddled his chest, rubbing her mound seductively into his muscles. She leaned forward until she was flush with his body, and kissed him deeply, running her tongue over his lips before pushing it inside to massage his.
He groaned as he felt his arousal re-awakened. He flipped her over quickly, as he covered her body with his, holding her down so she couldn’t move. "I’m gonna make love to you until you beg for mercy," he threatened.
Her eyes were wide and dark with arousal."Don’t let me stop you," she moaned, as she moved under him. "I want you now, Max," she breathed hard. "Please," she whispered into his ear, as she nibbled on his lobe.
"Oh God," he groaned, as he moved to enter her. "Oh God, Liz, you make me crazy!" he rasped, as he slipped inside.
It was Saturday, and they were meeting Balam at the airport. Liz and Max made the trip alone. They borrowed Tess’s SUV since Max’s jeep was a little too rough for Balam to ride in. He greeted them with a big smile and Liz gave him a big hug while Max shook his hand. He helped him with his luggage, placing it in the rear cargo area. It would take them a few hours to reach Roswell, so that gave them plenty of time to chat and to catch up.
They had already told him about their new house guests and he was intrigued to hear all the details. Liz told him that they were fitting in really well, especially since the visit from Grandma that vanquished Zan’s nightmares. Max revealed that Zan had experienced a terrible trauma. They were still mystified by his reincarnation, but were so glad that it had happened, especially for Ava’s sake.
Balam just nodded as he heard this news, smiling secretly to himself at how everything was working out according to plan. He knew it would, but it was still nice to be able to gloat over it. He was saddened to hear of the deaths of the other two members of their pod unit, though. It was unfortunate, but it could not be helped.
"I hear I will meet my friend River Dog again. That is good news," he smiled. "We will need his expertise, I am certain. I have completed all the deciphering, and it is here with me in this bag," he patted his briefcase that sat in his lap. "There are some very interesting
angles that have turned up. It is good that we have a few days to discuss these new developments. It is also good that you have some free time this upcoming week. Your school break came at a most opportune time."
"Yeah, " Max agreed. "I just hope we’ll make it back to school," he sighed. "I hope there’ll be a school to make it back to!"
"Don’t worry, my young friend," Balam assured him, as he patted his shoulder. "Everything will be perfect."
They arrived at the bungalow by 4:00 p.m. The others were waiting anxiously in the living room, and when Balam stepped into the foyer there was a cheer of welcome. There were hugs from the girls and handshakes all around from the guys. Zan and Ava stood in the background while all this was going on. Then Max brought them forward and introduced them to Balam.
He greeted them warmly and was rewarded with big smiles in return. He eyed the duplicates carefully and was pleased with what he saw. Max came up to stand by Zan and Tess joined Ava. His eyes krinkled as he smiled broadly at the image.
"Yes, it is as it should be," he verified, saying no more.
"Balam, we thought we’d eat before we got started. It will give you time to freshen up and have a rest, too,"Isabel suggested. "You must be tired from all the traveling. You can use the room on the left at the end of the hall," she offered. It was the room she and Alex often slept in, but they had determined it was more prudent to allow Balam to stay at the bungalow. They’d sleep in the living room with Michael and Maria, using sleeping bags.
"Thank you, Isabel," he smiled, as she led him to his room. She had laid fresh towels out for him and left him to his own. They were anxious to get started but they were also nervous about what would be revealed. By the time Balam had showered and dressed, dinner was almost ready. Max and Liz had used the bathroom off the den and they were also ready to join the others for dinner.
There were now eleven sitting at the table. It could seat twelve comfortably. Michael gave Balam his usual seat at the other head of the table, facing Max. Zan sat to his left and Michael sat opposite him. Michael had prepared a delicious roast beef dinner with baked and mashed potatoes and a variety of fresh vegetables. Tabasco dispensers were placed at regular intervals along the centre of the table, within easy reach of those who required it.
They ate and chatted easily, complimenting Michael on another culinary success. Balam was intrigued by the New York accents of the latest arrivals, thinking it was one of the few things that actually distinguished them from Max and Tess. He was amazed at how quickly they had been absorbed into the group, laughing and talking with the others so intimately. He was particularly touched by Max and Tess’s constant vigilance over them, and how Zan and Ava would often look to them for acknowledgment.
After the meal, Balam helped them clear the table and load up the dishwasher. They served coffee and dessert in the living room. Balam retrieved his briefcase from his room and laid it down on the floor, by his feet. All eyes swivelled to the back leather bag, knowing what it contained. He smiled at them encouragingly, noting their anxiousness.
"Ah, my young friends. I will torture you no longer," he said, as he stooped down to open the bag and lift a large file folder bulging with papers onto the coffee table. "This is the key to your future," he pointed dramatically to the stack.
|Part 32 | Index | Part 34
|Max/Liz | Michael/Maria | Alex/Isabel | UC Couples | Valenti | Other | Poetry | Crossovers | AfterHours